Tuesday , August 9 2022

Testing F1: Mercedes is under pressure from easy to drive Ferrari


Leclerc, 21, was the fastest day of testing in Barcelona

The message that came out of the first Formula 1 pre-term test is as clear as it currently has from year-on-year, Ferrari is a step forward to & The field, and Mercedes world-world champion continues to continue.

The Ferrari quickly came out, went down to fast times with obvious ease, looking comfortable to drive and reactive on the track, and it was reliable. Although things in Mercedes have really improved on the last day, their time did not come as easily or often.

That's even feeling before Mercedes drivers started talking to the media, and when they did, they supported it.

"Ferrari is very strong at the moment, as you did," said Lewis Hamilton. "They also also train great miles. They seem to have a better package than they did last year, which means it will be even more challenging for us."

"No matter what type of fuel load or engine modes they run," said his Valtteri Bottas team, "whatever they try to correct, in any case they are quick. Both run short and Long run. So I think we feel at this point they're going a little on.

"In terms of car behavior, we have a job to make the balance together. With the new rules, it will be a big development race. We do not believe anyone goes with this type From close to this test to the first race, including us.

"We have new parts coming for the first race. [But] we can not really rely on being upgraded. We need, even with this type of car, trying to make it better and faster.

In the context of doubling five five drivers and beginners of Mercedes, many of these will be taken with a minimum salt of salt.

Speaking on the final day of the test, Charles Leclerc Ferrari was eager to reduce the significance of the results so far.

"The performance has no sense for now because it continues to prove," said the team's new recruit, which was straight at home and very fast in the red car. "They probably do not weigh and we do not. We do not know how much others are sanding, so we'll see in the first race."

That's translated as: I will believe Mercedes is behind when I see it – at the moment, let's assume that they do not show their true speed. Or sandbagging, as F1 has a lexicon.

Cut through the mist of numbers

Bottas, 29, says that Ferrari is a little forward & # 39; from Mercedes' team

Even with an amendment on the last day, the evidence suggests that Mercedes would not be beaten if it was the first race of the tomorrow season.

It is always difficult to accurately assess where teams stand after just running four days of the winter – there are too many variables.

However, as the first test in the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit progressed, an impression was made. What follows is based on timing data assessment, and information from senior figures across the sport.

It is important to say that even the teams, who have much more data and ability to analyze or external people, do not know sure. As one higher figure said: "You're trying to collect too much information from too small data. And the same for us."

But that does not mean you have to throw your arms in the air, give it up and just wait to see how the cards fall in Melbourne in the month next. After all, where is fun in that?

There are things that can be done to clear some of the confusion, and find some shapes in the mist.

The most fastest list of fastest wrapping times set by each team is as good as meaningless. Renault has been filled, and then Toro Rosso and Alfa Romeo (the former Sauber team). Mercedes and Ferrari are fourth and fifth, and Red Bull is only eighth.

Drivers Renault Ricciardo and Hulkenberg recorded the fastest plots in tests

The problem with the main times is that the drivers use different tires, and the list does not consider the amount of fuel on the board.

However, it is possible to make the best effort to correct for both.

Teams never reveal their fuel loads but one can assess factors such as the length of running at the times set, and therefore work out the minimum fuel that each driver must have on the board and & # 39 ; to correct for it. It does not measure absolute, but it gets closer to reality.

You can also add the performance difference of the used tire, and calculate the time back to the baseline for one compound.

This is not just science – everyone does not agree what the sets have between each tire. In Spain this week, Pirelli had estimated himself for the gap between two of the five types of tires three times more than one of the teams.

But one can take Pirelli's own estimates, add a few opinions from different teams, look at the evidence of all driver times, create a football figure, and apply across the board.

From that fan, one can calculate a figure for the best fuel time and tires correct by each team. There are still a number of variables – including the hardness the team uses the machine – but this method will usually get a result that is not too far from reality.

That list looks like this:


Probably a 0.3-bit gap for Mercedes and Red Bull, with different perspectives on who might be ahead, although it seems Mercedes could be a smidge ahead.

there is about 0.7secs back to Renault which may be 0.2secs or more ahead of Alfa Romeo and Haas, both teams of Ferrari customers, with Toro Rosso, McLaren and Racing Point very close to them, and very difficult to choose between .

Then Williams has a significant gap, but he knows how much they can not, because of their lack of running after arriving at their car late.

Do not think about the list as absolutely right. You'll see as a guide, something to point quickly with the correct address.

The only reason for her is that the UK rookie country of Norris made one lap on the second toughest tire compound on the second day of the test that would have moved McLaren up to the rear of Renault but then he did not A team that coincides Carlos Sainz close up, and the team expects expectations. It is best now possible to treat it as an inconsistency.

Why could Mercedes find it hard?

The driver of Mercedes Hamilton says that Ferrari is very strong & # 39; in the tests

If the Ferrari is an advance step for everyone else – as older people agree – it's not necessarily a surprise.

While Hamilton won the title last year, Vettel could – and can be argued – made if he and Ferrari had not made so many mistakes. Between them, they have thrown at least as many points as the difference between the two men at the end of season championship.

In both terms due to changes in the rule before 2017 introduced a broader, faster car, Ferrari has started a year with a better car than Mercedes, just to get worse later in the season.

This year, there have been further changes in regulations, more important than an amendment to the front wing, making it wider and simpler. The aim was to reduce the troubled aerodynamics for the car behind and make it much easier.

The wing has changed the way the aerodynamics of the cars work. When rules change, some teams find it more accurate than others and Ferrari has a prominent frontage design of Mercedes.

The Ferrari is quite radical. The different fingers above the main plane – or all bottom start high in the middle of the car and overwhelm them downwards. In the meantime, Mercedes has a more conventional attitude at present – as is Red Bull.

This may not be part of the reason why the two cars seem to be performing differently – both teams have pursued anti-dynamic philosophies that oppose otherwise the last two years, but the overall performance of their cars has been very similar.

But, at the moment, whatever the reason, the Ferrari looks faster, can take advantage of that speed easier and more comfortable with it. Although Bottas talks about the Mercedes balance that still needs work, sources say that Vettel and Leclerc within Ferrari have said they find the car easy to drive, and the limit comfortable to access it.

All this equates to a designated insight, with little information, at the earliest term of the season.

Given the quality of Mercedes as a team, and the way they and Hamilton have won the last two titles, they are little regarded as anything other than serious title competitors.

As Hamilton said: "We're the only team to win a championship by crossing the rules situation and even if we will not start the right foot on the first race, I & # 39; n feel confident. "

Be as possible, the early signs are that world champions still continue.

What about the rest?

Renault seems to have made a step towards the big teams, although it is still a bit away, and moves a little bit clear from the rest. Behind them, mid Wales looks to be even closer than it was already.

Renault and Alfa Romeo printed in the first test – Renault for some very strong running, which gave them that Mercedes was not far away; and Alfa Romeo, the former Sauber team is now very close to Ferrari, for a steady pace.

But Haas also showed a speed, Racing Point made it clear that they had many developments to come to the car that they launched, McLaren has had the most reliable first test for five years, and Toro Rosso has set up dark times, Alexander Albon of the end ends with the fastest second gear each week.

In the case of Williams, it was a difficult test, the car did not appear on track until the third afternoon, and the team worked to understand as much as possible without searching for lap hours for the day and a half.

The word is that Williams could face a difficult season but, just like the fight ahead, the next test next week will give more information about where everyone stands.

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